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The history and development of liturgical music in the Judeo-Christian tradition is a complicated and wondrous thing. Beginning with ancient musical forms, it not only incorporated and wove various cultural threads into its being, but eventually developed into the most complex and beautiful form then known: Byzantine chant in the east. Corresponding developments were progressing in the west that led to Gregorian chant.

Developmental Flow Chart of Christian Liturgical Chant

Interestingly, liturgical worship began with Jewish synagogue and temple worship, and followed a similar developmental path closely related to music. Historically Christian worship was always understood to be a “sung service.” That is, the music is the vehicle for the prayer. Yes, arrangers strove to create aural beauty, and they did, but it was always in the service of worship and of being a vehicle for prayer. If a single reference summarizes this approach, it would be Psalm 141, sung daily at Vespers (Esperinos):

Lord, I call upon Thee, hear me. Hear me, O Lord.
Let my prayer arise in Thy sight as incense.
And let the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice.
Hear me, O Lord.


Explore our site. You’ll find over 60 articles in the Liturgics section, describing the history and development of liturgical music and liturgical worship in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

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Liturgica Resources

Our Resources page provides a wide range of links to source material on liturgical worship and liturgical music, as well as links to major outlets for recordings of classic liturgical music- including Ancient Faith Publishing, Holy Cross Seminary Bookstore, The Greek Soul, etc.

The Liturgica Music Shop

The Store offers high quality MP3 downloads of classical liturgical music, accepting credit cards or PayPal. Music files are delivered automatically using the Liturgica Music Manager, direct to your computer. No hassle!

About Liturgica

Liturgical music is some of the most beautiful and moving music ever created. It is the most meaningful and substantial because of its subject: the living and loving God Who created all things. This is why it touches us so deeply, and draws us into its mystical and spiritual motion and depth.

At Liturgica.com, our goal is to help our friends and customers understand the origins and development of liturgical worship and the music used in these worship forms over the past two millennia. Our Liturgics articles are written by experts in their fields, fully credited, with the aim of helping anyone interested in understanding the full scope of this developmental process.

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